Canon: Gone, But Not Completely Forgotten … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Canon: Gone, But Not Completely Forgotten ...

What’s Up

I made it out to Nickerson (along with good buddy Tom Pfeifer) on Monday, August 21, 2019, my last afternoon, but after a short but productive session, we were forced to take shelter due to lightning and heavy rain. I got back to Lissy’s early and began packing for what turned out to be my uneventful flight back to Orlando on Tuesday. The flight got in early and after a quick stop at Publix I was home and in the pool by 3:30pm.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We have all but one of the BigFeet in stock (phone orders only for now: 863-692-0906) but are sold out of the new FLN-60 BigFoot that was recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FlexShooter Pro story with videos.


BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

As used gear sales have slowed a bit in recent months — especially with dSLR bodies, there are lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page

Canon Macro EF 180mm f/3.5L USM Macro Lens

BAA Record-low Price!

Long-time friend Alan Levine — Alan and Sara knew Elaine! — are offering a Canon Macro EF 180mm f/3.5L USM Macro Lens in like-new condition for the BAA record-low price of $799.00. The sale includes the front and rear lens cap, the tripod collar, the original box, the tough fabric carrying case, the lens hood (ET-78), and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only. Photos are available upon request. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Alan via e-mail.

The Canon 180 Macro was my mainstay macro lens for more than a decade. I love the extra reach that it provides over the various 100mm macro lenses. And, assuming that you will be working on a tripod, the Canon EF Extender 1.4X is perfectly compatible. The lens is great for flowers, bugs, butterflies, frogs, toads, and snakes among lots more. The lens, that is still in production, sells new for $1,399.00. You can save a smooth $600 on Alan’s practically like-new lens. artie

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in the late fall of 2017. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens with my all-time favorite Canon body, the EOS 5D Mark IV.). ISO: 3200. Evaluative metering at about zero as framed: 1/400 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode was perfect. AWB at 7:16am pm on a dark, cloudy morning.

Image #1: Great Blue Heron juvenile standing by derelict battery

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

I Had Forgotten

Over time, I had forgotten that I owned the Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens. I was fortunate to have — in addition — owned both the 600 II and the 400 DO II. To this day, the Canon long lens line-up is without parallel. Neither Nikon nor Sony comes even close. So why don’t I own the Nikon 500mm f/4 lens? Because the 500 PF fills that focal length need nicely, albeit with the loss of one stop of light, but with the huge advantages of light weight and portability. Heck, on the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT I took the Nikon 600mm and rarely used it at all, opting instead for the convenience of handholding the 500 PF, my all-time favorite flight photography lens.

This image was also created at Fort DeSoto Park in the late fall of 2017. For this one I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the
Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my all-time favorite Canon body, the EOS 5D Mark IV.). ISO: 800. Evaluative metering at about +1/3 stop as framed: 1/800 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode was perfect. AWB at 4:57pm on a sunny afternoon.

Image #2: Forster’s Tern, adult winter soaking

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

I Have Not Forgotten

I have not forgotten that when it comes to making sharp images with f/4 telephotos and a 2X teleconverter Canon slays Nikon. While I have made a very few sharp images with the Nikon 600mm f/4, Nikon AF performance with the doubler (and even with the TC-14E) suffers greatly. Considering how much I love clean, tight, and graphic, the loss of 1000 and 1200mm is not something that I will soon forget. And best of all, with Canon I was able to make consistently sharp images at those extreme focal lengths down to shutter speeds of 1/60 sec.

So will I be switching back to Canon soon? Sorry, that is a no.

Your Background Preference?

Do you prefer the patterned background in Image #1 or the pure blue background Image #2? Please leave a comment and let us know which and why.

Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or very early October. I hope that you can join me there this September. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Limit 6/Openings 5.

Afternoon session on Friday September 25 at 4pm. That followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, and gulls that winter on the T-shaped peninsula. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and Roseate Spoonbill. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two along with some American Oystercatchers. We may very well get to see and photograph the amazing heron/egret hybrid that has been present for four years. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Wood Stork might well be expected. And we will be on the lookout for a migrant passerine fallout in the event of a thunderstorm or two.

On the IPT you will learn:

  • 1- The basics and fine points of digital exposure; how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure.
  • 2- How and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).
  • 3- How to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them.
  • 4- Lots about bird behavior and how to use that knowledge to help you create better images.
  • 5- To age and identify many species of shorebirds including sandpipers, plovers, dowitchers, and possibly yellowlegs.
  • 6- To spot good situations and to choose the best perspective.
  • 7- To see, evaluate, and understand the light.
  • 8- To design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system.
  • 9- And perhaps most importantly, to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography.
  • 10- How and when to access the magical sandbar safely.
  • 11- More than you could ever imagine.

Morning sessions will run at least three to 3 1/2 hours, afternoon sessions 2 1/2 to 3 hours. There is never a set schedule on an IPT — we adapt to the conditions. There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time. This IPT will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with the hotel information. Do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same general area (rather than at home or at a friend’s place a good distance away).

Folks attending this IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors; this is pretty much a staple on almost all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours. Doing so will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest and those who need to get home for a proper dinner. I really love it when I am leaving the beach at 9:30am on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers are arriving …

Payment in full is due now. Credit cards are OK for your $500 deposit. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand. If you leave a deposit you will receive an e-mail with your balance statement and instructions for sending your balance check. If you wish to pay in full right off the bat, you can make your check out to BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, and clothing and gear advice in mid-August. Please remember that we will meet early on Saturday morning. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.

IPT veterans and couples or friends signing up together are urged to e-mail for discount information.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

19 comments to Canon: Gone, But Not Completely Forgotten …

  • avatar Mukesh Patel

    Hi Artie,
    I have never used the Canon lenses but owned most of the Nikon latest series telephotos. Now I have completely switched over to Sony with Sony 200-600 G, 400 F/2.8, and 600 f/4 GM. I don’t miss Nikon at all. The light weight, speed, and sharpness of the new Sony just amazed me. So I think there is parallel to these old work horses from Nikon and Canon.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Great. I am glad that you love SONY. I hope that you used my links!

      with love, artie

      ps: where do you live?

      pps: how do you like the 200-600?

      • avatar Mukesh Patel

        I am in Wash. DC area. The 200-600 is better than expected, focusing is fast and very sharp. It’s hard to differentiate the sharpness between 600 GM versus 200-600 zoom. 600 GM is much more balanced, zoom feels front heavy. I loved the zoom ring on it. First time, I am able to track the bird and change the focal length, simply amazing to use.

        I am not sure about I love Sony, I just love the quality and functionality of these lenses, regardless of manufacture. That could change tomorrow , if some other manufacturer comes with better quality.



        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thankas Mukesh, For someone who has spent a boatload of money on SONY gear it puzzles me that you say that you are “not sure about SONY.”

          with love, a

          • avatar Mukesh Patel


            What I meant is that just because I like Sony and it’s performance, it doesn’t mean I love it. I think my love is for live being, not for physical things. In that case I have used Nikon for 40 years and I liked it but never loved it.

            Sorry, beat Philosophical here. Yes, I am completely happy with my choice of Sony gears at this moment but that can change if some other manufacture comes with something better. Never been a fan boy of anything!!

            thanks for all the advise and in-depth comments of all your pictures, techniques and comments, really appreciate it.

            Best regards,


            Thanks for the explanation, Mukesh. I’d love to meet you on an IPT one day.

            with love, a

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    I miss my Canon gear 🙁 (Big 600mm II with and w/o 2x TC, 100-400II). The Nikon 500pf is close, but no cigar. Close to a cigar though..

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      As you have seen on the blog, I love my 500 PF and have made many, many images that I love. with it. Especially flight …

      with love, artie

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    Bryan h. Is getting the itch.

  • avatar Adam

    Interesting points as always, though my results with the 5dmkiv, 500 mm f/4 is ii, and 2c tc iii couldn’t be more different than yours. With the 1.4x iii tc, the lens is outstanding whereas with the 2x the IQ is much more “coke bottle”’esque and the af is inconsistent. Perhaps it’s my tc or lens interface as I can’t even obtain adequate calibration unless I use a huge offset (-12). The lens calibrates spot on natively and is a -1 with the 1.4 tc. Ironically, this same 2x tc worked fine fine on my 300 and 400 mm f/2.8

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Interesting but no clue here. I’ve made sharp stuff with adjustment values in the +10 to +15 range. I have never found a low AFA value to be any better than a higher AFA value. Otherwise, I have no clue.

      with love, artie

  • avatar frank sheets

    Hi Artie,

    I find the 2nd image background more pleasing. The first is too busy for me. Had the bird been been further away from the rocks and they were softer the image might be a bit more pleasing in my mind. RE Canon nostalgia, I agree, but someone is enjoying my 600II and 400 DOII. But the 400 DOII has now been replaced by the Sony 2.8 (which I find to be amazing, but a bit heavier) and perhaps its in the cards a Sony 600 will be in my future (and yes, the Sony 600 with a 2X will focus, and fast, at least on the A9). There is just no comparison to the AF capabilities of the A9 and the A7RIII files are pretty amazing. In order to take advantage of Sony, the Canon stuff just had to go.


  • avatar Joel Eade

    Why not consider both systems for their strengths? Use a Canon on a tripod for their long lenses with TC’s and a Nikon or Sony over your shoulder for flight and action images.

  • avatar Gary Axten

    Definitely the second background, when I saw the first I thought: “that’s not an Artie image”. 😉

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